Your maternity leave is coming to an end.

People have started to ask you when you’re returning to work.

Realizing that you must leave your little one in the hands of another, you start to panic.

You have visited some daycares and you have interviewed some nannies,

but nothing seems like the right fit.

You begin to run the numbers and question if returning to work is the best option.

And then you consider opening your own home daycare.

How to run a home daycare

Running a home daycare can be a great option but there is a lot to consider. Home daycares are businesses and you need to treat them as such to be successful. Here are a few things to consider before opening a home daycare to help you decide if it’s the right decision for you and your family.

More Time With Your Kids

Demanding work schedules and long commutes can cut into your family time. Running a home daycare allows you to spend the entire day with your kids while making some extra cash. And you would have time for all those Pinterest kids projects you have been wanting to try.

Save Money

Child care can be a pretty big chunk of change no matter how many children you have. If your take-home pay is barely covering your childcare costs are going to work worth it?

If you run a home daycare you wouldn’t need to buy work attire and you would save on lunches out with co-workers. Best of all you’ll avoid the dreaded “can you chip in for so-and-so’s birthday” requests.  And don’t forget about parking downtown which can cost as much as child care.

Instant Friends

With a home daycare, your kids will have little friends that they get to play with every day. Sure they’re still going to complain that they’re bored but at least they’ll have a friend to complain with. You’ll also do more crafts and activities that you never thought you would do with your kids.

More Control

What another person considers to be healthy can be completely different from your own views. Running a home daycare will allow you to have greater control over what your child eats, watches and learns. If your child has severe food allergies this could be a deal breaker for you. It’s hard to trust that someone else will take as much care with food allergies as you would.

More Wear & Tear

Your house is going to get destroyed. Over time you’re going to need to repaint, replace baseboards and repair your flooring. When you’re deciding if running a home daycare is right for you, remember to budget for home repairs because they are inevitable. Your house will be cleaner than it might have been otherwise though because you’ll be constantly cleaning.

Shitty Pay & Shitty Diapers

Yes! You can make a decent amount of money depending on whether or not you can max out the number of children you can have in your home daycare.  But that income is not always guaranteed. Contracts end for many reasons including loss of a job, moving out of the area or children entering kindergarten. If you depend on a consistent paycheck this might not be the job for you.

Each province and state has different regulations in regards to how many children you can have in your home. The limit can vary from two to six and that can make a huge difference in your potential income.  You should also consider how saturated the market is in your city. If there are a ton of home daycares looking for clients you may have a hard time filling spots. Consider the average rate you could charge. In a competitive market, other providers may lower their prices to fill spots which might make running a home daycare not worth it for you.

Get ready for endless diaper changes. Most of the kids you will be taking care of will not be potty-trained or will need assistance with potty training. For you, that means a lot of shitty diapers, peed-on couches and an extra stinky garbage bag each week.

Long Hours

Running a home daycare typically requires 10+ operational hours per day, plus any extra housework or preparations you might need to do. If you are up all night with your own small child are you going to want to put in 10 or more hours with other people’s children?

Forget lunch and coffee breaks because these aren’t guaranteed. Have you ever tried to get six kids to nap at the same time? It’s not an easy task and can take a while to master.

Work-Life Balance

With any home-based job, a healthy work-life balance can be challenging. Since running a home daycare requires you to be home for 10+ hours every day, you’ll have less flexibility with your schedule. Booking appointments can be difficult, usually resulting in you having to take a day off. If you are a woman looking to get pregnant again, consider how many prenatal appointments are required.

It can also be difficult to put your own kids in extracurricular activities because they often start late in the afternoon and if your home daycare doesn’t close until 6 pm it could be difficult to attend.

Are you the type of person that needs adult interaction? You could end up feeling quite isolated, especially in the winter when it’s harder to make it to the park.

How does your partner feel about having extra children in the house? Is it going to stress him or her out to have a house full of screaming kids?

Sickness

Regardless of whether or not you have an illness policy, parents will drop off their sick kids. They don’t care that they will infect the rest of the kids and your house.  Get prepared for stomach bugs and weird rashes and remember that unless you specify, your sick days are not paid.

Transition Period Sucks

Your kids might hate that you are running a home daycare. Think about it: suddenly they have to start sharing their toys, their home and you with other kids. Not only could your kids find it difficult but the kids coming to your home can also take a long time to adjust. Are you prepared to hear bone-chilling screaming for hours or even days?

No RRSP Matching, Benefits or Bonuses

When you run a home daycare there is no employer matching your RRSP contributions, paying for a health plan or handing out bonuses. Think about the extras you’ll be giving up by not returning to work.

In Canada, you must also pay into the Canadian Pension Plan twice; once as an employer and once as an employee. Make sure you run all of the numbers before deciding if this is the best option for you.

There is No Room for Advancement

You’re only allowed to have a limited amount of children in your care. So there is a cap on how much income you can make. Are you willing to put your career on hold for a couple of years until your own kids are in school full time?

Is Running A Home Daycare Right For You?

It may seem like there are a lot more negatives than positives when considering starting a home daycare. But ask any provider why they do what they do and you will soon find out that most don’t do it for the money. Most providers want to stay home with their kids and help with the household expenses. They love hanging out with children and want to play all day. Most providers truly love what they do and take their job seriously.

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